Category Archives: International incidents

London is beautiful…but a little too peoply.

(Click here for part 1)

SO…where were we?  Oh, we were in Scotland at the train station and I was thinking that Scotland would always be my favorite vacation spot and then someone told me that the national animal of Scotland is the unicorn (true story) and also that Scotland recently had to shut down part of a castle after a “very angry badger” took up residence there and refused to be lured out with peanuts and cat food and then I realized that Scotland was made for me and probably I should go live there.  And I’m fine with angry badgers because Victor travels all the time so it’d be like he was there even when he wasn’t, plus badgers eat snakes so it’d be like I had a personal snake security guard with me.  EVERYONE WINS.

We planned to take a sleeper train from Scotland to London and it seemed very smart because not only do you travel at night so you sleep through the travel but also you don’t have to spend money on a hotel because you sleep on the train, and it was awesome.  Mostly it was awesome at teaching us how much we never want to take a sleeper train again because as soon as I squeezed into the tiny room with all our suitcases I had the first bout of claustrophobia I’d had in 10 years and I had to tell Victor and Hailey to stop breathing because they were using up all the air and also the room was so tiny it smelled like feet and farts and fear almost immediately.  It was exciting though to see the country from the window and I enjoyed the booze part of the dining car once I stopped hyperventilating.

Also, people on twitter told me I needed to eat “neeps & tatties” so I asked for them but I forgot the name so instead I was like, “It’s Scottish and it goes with haggis?  I want to say ‘nipples and titties’ but I’m pretty sure that’s not it” and they agreed hardily.  Turns out it’s “neeps & tatties” (shorthand for “turnips & potatoes”) but I think I was pretty close.  Not close enough for the dining car people though, who were very confused, but in my defense this is a country that also sells “pasties” and they aren’t what you think they are either so I’m pretty sure none of this is my fault.  Victor disagrees.

But he did agree that the sleeper train was not a great fit for us (literally) but was excellent practice for prison.  I asked Victor to order 50 hard-boiled eggs and a harmonica but the dining car was out of both, I guess.

At the time, this night was one of the most uncomfortable of the vacation but looking back it was one of the best and I laughed myself a little sick. So never mind, I’ve decided I like the train after all.

Jesus.  This is supposed to be about London and I’m still on the damn train from Scotland.  Let’s hurry this up.

We got to London and were the last people on earth to see Hamilton (although Hailey and I already knew all the words by heart and I want a medal for not singing along) and I cried so much I gave myself a headache.  Also it was weird going to London to see a play about America but it worked.

#ANDPEGGY

We went to Dennis Severs’ House and it was an introvert’s dream because basically you’re going to a party where you’re not allowed to speak, the other guests are invisible and also Dennis Severs’ is dead so literally you get to enjoy an amazing (probably haunted) time capsule art installation house in absolute silence.  I can’t explain it well and I wasn’t allowed to take pictures but if you’re ever in London you should totally go.

We went to the Tower of London and saw the crown jewels and the torture chambers and the ravens and the weather was miserable but it matched the mood of the place so I give it points for accuracy.

Then we did the cheesy touristy London Dungeon, and I’m aware that it’s a terrible waste to go to the country where history comes from and spend hours at a semi-horror amusement part but we know who we are and we are the kind of people who love cheesy horror and ridiculousness and being chased by Jack the Ripper.  Part of traveling is learning who you are.  Turns out we are those people.

There were a lot of other things we wanted to do but I had a small panic attack at the bus station that left me needing to hide in a hotel room (but only for a few hours and this is what progress looks like for me) and Hailey sprained her ankle so we skipped all of the other stuff and just took our kid to a bar.  But it was a bar that had a full replica of Sherlock Holmes’ flat so I can’t be blamed.  Also, I was told that kids go to bars all the time in London so I guess in that way it’s a lot like Texas.

We wanted to do high tea but we couldn’t get in anywhere since we waited too late and honestly that was fine because I didn’t even know what high tea was.  Turns out it’s just tea, but sitting up high at a table rather than a couch, so I’m not sure what the draw is.  “Low tea” is drinking at a low sofa which seems better to me.  Personally I prefer “Super-low tea” which involves having wine coolers and cupcakes in your bathtub and which I just made up.

Then we went to Trafalgar Square where I half fell in the fountain getting this picture:

Worth it.

We watched the sunset and scraped our elbows climbing onto the giant lion statues and for a moment everything was golden.  I breathed.  I felt.  I soaked it in.  I stopped, and all was good.

I love this picture of me and Hailey. Are those guy unveiling a giant metal nipple? Just asking.

And then we got on another train for France.  Let’s take a break, okay?  I need some super-low tea.

PS. Everywhere in Scotland I kept seeing these signs that said “TO LET” and I was like, “They spelled ‘TOILET’ wrong” but apparently ‘letting’ is like ‘leasing’ and that makes more sense but also I was very impressed with the children of Scotland for not graffitiing an “I” into every sign because apparently they have much more self control/class than I do or possibly they just aren’t tall enough to do what all of us are thinking.

Someone get me a white paint pen and a ladder.  And bail money.  I’m gonna need bail money.

And then everything changed. #Scotland

If you’ve been reading here you know that I’ve been dealing with a rather severe depression for more than a year.  A few months ago I had 36 transcranial magnetic stimulation sessions to try to snap out of the anxiety and depression that were making me a prisoner in my own head.

And it worked.  Not entirely, I mean.  I still deal with depression and anxiety and I’m still on medication but it reset my head enough to let me leave the house.  In fact, the week after my treatment was over we spent a week in Europe, something I never would have imagined was possible for me before.

I probably didn’t do as much as most people do and certainly I missed lots of things that I wanted to do but I got out there and I only had one day of anxiety severe enough to make me hide in my room.  I can’t even tell you how impossible that would have sounded to me only a few months ago.

I’ll tell you more about the trip in my next book (BECAUSE I’M WRITING AGAIN) but so many of you asked me to share some of our itinerary so today I’m doing a photo essay of the trip.  If you follow me on all the social medias you can totally skip this:

Day one:  A new Pope was elected on our first plane.

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Video: This seems like an ominous sign.

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Our second plane ride was a bit better:

WE GOT UPGRADED FROM ECONOMY TO BUSINESS. WHAT.

Landed in Glasgow.  Tried to go to the Necropolis but it was scary as shit driving on the wrong side of the road in heavy traffic and suddenly A PARADE BROKE OUT so we just drove away.  So, we started with fear and failure and less corpses than anticipated but at least the corpses weren’t our so it’s a fair trade.  Plus we had breakfast:

Beans on toast, haggis, blood pudding, lorne sausage, tattie scone. All weirdly delicious.

 

ASK ME HOW I KNOW.

 

We’re staying in the 800 year old super haunted Dalhousie Castle. It’s beautiful but there are 8 live spiders in the bathroom and now Hailey refuses to open it again so we’ll be pooping out the window like the classy people we are.

Is that a goddam owl? Yeah. It is.  YOU’RE A WIZARD, HARRY.

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Made an unexpected friend. #scotland

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That tiny owl? It’s called a “little owl” and it’s adorable but also we had to keep it away from any other little owls because IT EATS OTHER OWLS. Cutest cannibal I’ve ever snuggled in my life.

Pretty much every building in Scotland looks like Hogwarts but this is Rosslyn Chapel. There’s a black & white cat who sort of owns the place and I spent time snuggling him on a pew today. If more stray cat snuggles happened in random churches I might actually go.  Get your shit together, Christians.

Day 2:

Spending a few days at Neil Gaiman’s house in Scotland and thinking that young me would never believe this is real. Sadly, Neil and Amanda aren’t here but when I was in the library after midnight a crow tapped on the window to come in and I’m pretty sure I’m in a short story now.

Day 3:


 

But turns out the everyone not Scottish pops all their tires in Scotland so the mechanic had a ton of spares on hand and was able to fix it.  SUCCESS!

We explored Isle of Skye, which feels haunted but in the best possible way.

We walked The Quiraing, which was breathtaking and watched out for Highlanders.  We didn’t get to the end because it was long and Hailey sprained an ankle and I’m lazy but it was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced in my life.  Also, there were sheep.

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The Quiraing. #scotland

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Here’s where I almost fell to my death. #WORTHIT

We went searching for ruins. We found cows. Probably they ate the ruins. I don’t know how Scottish cows work.

Also, all the ground in Scotland is so crazy soft you sink into it when you walk.  It’s like standing on cats.

I stole fruit.

Saw the countryside. Stepped in feces. (Probably not human.)  Spent time with family.

Day 3:

Eilean Donna Castle. Everything looks like a movie here.

Loch Ness. The monster did not show herself. DEEP SIGH. SCOTLAND.

But we stopped at Loch Lochy (which seems a bit too on-the-nose and I assume was named in an internet contest) and totally found something:

Then I found another monster.

Caught a Mr. Mime. I screamed a little. Don’t judge me.

Found a giant castle knitted out of yarn in the mall. You can’t get away from castles in this country, y’all.

Overall, it was amazing.  I actually miss Scotland and usually when I leave a place I feel relief that I’m gone.  I cannot recommend it enough.  But maybe bring a raincoat.  And a spare tire.

Holy shit, this post is getting long.  Let’s do London next, okay?

Honestly I might be better mistranslated.

Furiously Happy continues to find an audience in China and that means that I get tagged in a lot of weird things that possible don’t translate well.  Mostly they’re reviews but when I use google translate it’s wonderfully entertaining:

Makes you wish she was your super super good friend. – Entertainment Weekly

She will let you spray coke out of her nose. – Parade

Jenny’s story will make you laugh, but in fact you know that you shouldn’t laugh so arbitrarily, otherwise you may laugh all the way to hell, so perhaps you shouldn’t read this book. You have to think about your personal safety. It would be wise. – Neil Gaiman, author of The American Gods

I can’t express how deeply Jenny poked me.  – American Reader’s Review

Her sunny vernacular became a chicken butt soup….Fun angle. Interesting soul. ~ Amazon top review

I want all of these blurbs on my next book.

Dead Happy World’s Brightest Leopard Depression Sufferer

Yesterday I shared the bizarre news that Furiously Happy is a bestseller in China and then I asked if anyone could translate the billboards and posters advertising Furiously Happy and it was glorious.




PS. It feels only fair that the English part of the Chinese poster has a typo.  Now I want this poster.  It makes me Furiously Flappy.

Love always, the World’s Brightest Leopard

What did I even write?

LET ME LOVE YOU

Apparently Furiously Happy is in Turkish now because I just got a copy of a Turkish psychology article about it, but I don’t read Turkish so I put part of it into Google translate and it gave me this:

?

I’m not sure if this is an insult or just a poorly translated way of saying “so funny you’ll shit yourself” but either way, “Experience the subtle line between laughing and abdominal pain” is my new favorite blurb.

Also, Furiously Happy is being translated in Bulgarian and I was like, “It’s so strange to think that my stories will be read in Bulgary” and Victor was like, “Yeah.  Especially Bulgary isn’t a place.  It’s Bulgaria.”  But my way sort of makes sense because Calgarians are from Calgary so it would follow that Bulgarians are from Bulgary, but he must be right because spellcheck keeps changing “Bulgary” to “burglary” because even spellcheck is like, “What is even wrong with you?

Answer:  Lots.  But on the plus side, I can give Turkish people abdominal pain using only my words, like some kind of long-distance diarrhea-sorcerer so at least I’ve got that going for me.

Where’s Rory? He’s fucking everywhere. (I mean, not literally. Ew.)

An update:

A few days ago I wrote a post about how awesome it would be if Rory the raccoon traveled all over the world to see the places most of us might never see and you said, “YES, LET’S MAKE THIS HAPPEN.  SEND ME A RORY.  NO -FUCK IT.  I CAN’T WAIT FOR YOU.  I’LL PRINT OUT MY OWN” and then suddenly there were pictures all over the internet of Rory in Italy, in airplanes, in refrigerators, in dunk tanks, eating funnel cake, and someplace that is actually named “SPIDER ISLAND” which I just think should be burned to the ground on principle.

wheresrory7

A few of my favorites are here and I’m updating it daily because you people are made of magic.  (It sucks that pinterest requires you to get a free account {STOP BEING A DICK, PINTEREST} but it’s the easiest way to pull it all together.)

The pictures are amazing, but even better are the comments I’m getting from people who – like me – are afraid of leaving the house, but who are excited to have a small raccoon companion who gives them a reason to get out and go someplace ridiculous and amazing.  And I totally get that because today I was thinking that I live pretty close to the world’s largest pair of cowboy boots and that seems like something Rory needs to see.

So today I’m going through the comments on the last post to pick out a few dozen people who want to take Rory to amazing places, and then they can look at the comments and email the next person to pass Rory onto.

And if you don’t hear from me by tomorrow and just can’t wait then you can print and make your own here.  Or if you want a small, plastic version you can take anywhere I have one in my shop.  It looks like this:

Hunter S. Thomcat imaging ways to murder me in my sleep.

Hunter S. Thomcat imagining a plethora of ways to murder me in my sleep.

If you upload a picture on instagram or twitter or elsewhere, tag it with #wheresrory so I can find it.  Also, I went back to the doctor yesterday and I’m on a LOT of codeine so it’s possible this makes less sense than normal.  Sorry about that.

#wheresrory?  He's stealing the tongue depressors while I cough a lung out.

#wheresrory? He’s stealing the tongue depressors while I cough up a lung.